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This year, if you you’re not already underway, you need to plan to update your website’s look and functionality for two business-critical reasons: legal compliance and user trust.

We have written at length about user trust and if you haven’t taken this into account with your current website then it is probably long overdue and is more than likely impacting your site’s performance and hindering conversions.

The problem with legal compliance is a little more complicated. Businesses that set up a website many years ago and have done few, if any, modifications since. They may have updated design and content, integrated new forms of payment or to manage inventory in a timelier manner, but that’s probably it. If that describes your business, then your site is doing a disservice to your business and your customers and, potentially, your bottom line, because they are noncompliant at a time of looming enforcement of standards and legislation.

Here are a few updates you should consider for your website if you find it’s out-of-date in any of the following areas.

Data Security

In 2018, security is going to be a top concern of your website visitors, especially if your site requires them to provide personal or financial information. After the numerous well-publicized data breaches in 2017, your users will be especially wary of how interacting with your site could affect them. Some countries are starting to write and pass security legislation on how companies need to announce data breaches.

Minimally, you should be using HTTPS to protect confidential online transactions and even online info-request forms. That said, users now expect a trusted certificate on any webpage they visit, so be sure all your pages have up-to-date certificates. The addition of basic SSL-level security will also aid in your SEO efforts.

For e-commerce sites, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance is the standard required by the major credit card issuers (Visa, MasterCard, American Express etc.) for all merchants accepting payments online. Merely using a PCI DSS-compliant processor cuts down your risk, but it does not eliminate your compliance obligations. Merchants still must validate compliance, and the usage of an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) to check your website for vulnerabilities can help keep hackers at bay.

Design Is Now Moving Beyond Desktop and Mobile

Design is now moving beyond desktop and mobile considerations, into more advanced technologies such as voice. For example, you can use artificial intelligence (AI) to design and build a buyer journey based on user experience and buying habits. So content customization is becoming the centerpiece of any effective website.

Embedded Background Video

It has been reported that 60% of website visitors will click on a video if one is available. Video is the newest component and offers more “stick” value than any text or picture. Video is also one of the simplest and most effective ways to engage site visitors at that all-important emotional level, so be sure your video is funny or touching, or else extremely useful. Sites with video have higher click through, engagement, and conversion rates.

Disability Compliance

Though not rigorously enforced up to now, there is legislation that requires your commercial website to be wholly compliant so that it can be used by your visitors who have disabilities. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and ADA compliance regulations are updated often, and infractions have become easier to track, which means compliance will be much easier to enforce in 2018.

The guidelines are intended to enhance accessibility for a wider variety of people with disabilities, such as people with low vision, learning disabilities, and speech restrictions.

Artificial Intelligence

In 2018, watch artificial intelligence, typically in the form of chatbots, to be incorporated into many business websites. Once again, the goal is to make the customer experience on your website seamless and useful. AI agents have a way of knowing exactly what your customer is looking for by analyzing their past purchases or inquiries. AI has also taken over the customer service function on many websites.

These are but a handful of immediate changes that are needed now for current web design but in the very near future but voice-command integration, engaging micro-interactions, and progressive Web apps are also on the horizon.

This may very well be the year you’ll need to address the larger issues of website development and My Brother Darryl is here to provide you with the correct guidance when dealing with this anticipated sea of change.

Call today for a free consultation and plan to get your site up to compliance this year.

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